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When Alan Pardew goes on a run…

5 years ago
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Inspired by comment on another article, analysis has been done to see how Alan Pardew teams perform across a whole season.

The background has been the debate over whether the last 4 games represent a turning point or merely a flash in the pan.

There is some extra background that comes from his days managing in lower divisions. Of course, he did well to win at the 3rd tier level to get promotion with Reading, arguably the best resourced team in that league at the time. What is curious is that there were 3 purple parches in the season but the last 10 games yielding only a solitary win.

Into what is now the Championship, Pardew managed to reach the play-offs. After some patchy early season form, autumn showed a run of 5 consecutive wins, followed by 1 in 8 and then another 5 game winning sequence. The end of season tail off lasted into the play-offs, although his successor took Reading to the Premier League.

His time at West Ham tells a similar story. His first season saw him reach the play-offs, again with a well resourced team for that league. A 4 game winning run in autumn was followed by a dip, which led to 8 games without a win. A 3 win flurry at the end of the season secured a play-off place.

Next came the promotion season, marked by a few flurries, 4 wins in 5, 3 wins in 4, 3 on the trot then 4 in 5, Sheringham and Harewood scoring at will and backed by Zamora. The longest streak without a win was 5.

Although the Hammers finished in the top half in the first season up, the pattern of results tells some stories. A 5 match winning run at the start of the year was the highlight. This followed a run of 1 point from 5 games. At no other point in the season did Pardew achieve more than 2 wins in 4.

The 2005-06 season saw him shown the exit door. A curtain raising win was the only one in his first 9 games before finding his autumnal purple patch, this time 3 wins in 5, before being chopped,3 straight defeats later.

With Charlton, a late flurry of 3 wins in 4 during spring was not enough to save them from the drop, two winless runs of 4 and 7 games doing the damage. Back down in the Championship, the first season saw him have 2 good runs, 5 wins in 7 and 4 on the trot, achieving mid-table. Two winless runs of 4 games each and one run of 7 provided a balance.

By November 2009, the 4 wins in 10, which turned into 4 in 18 was enough to persuade Charlton to let him go. His year at Southampton provided him with more credibility, this time 3 runs of 4 consecutive wins left the Saints in shouting distance of the play-off places, Nigel Adkins taking them on to consecutive promotions.

The first season at St James’ Park did not tell us much. Chris Hughton had got off to a relatively flying start with 5 wins in 11 before the club failed to support him with a replacement for Calderwood, the best Pardew could muster being 3 in 5 with 2 winless runs of 4 and 5 games.

In his first full season, Pardew experienced arguably his best season ever, certainly his best in the top flight. Even that season was one of ups and downs, an 11 game unbeaten start, including 7 wins, followed by 5 games which yielded only 2 points, enough to see the back of Hughton the previous year.

5 wins in 7 followed, with a later run proving Pardew’s best ever, 6 wins on the bounce. 3 defeats in the last 4 scuppered Champions League qualification.Pardew himself has argued that the Europa League was the key to almost being relegated next time around. The only counterbalance to 4 poor runs, 2 of 3 without a win and 2 of 5, was the 5 wins in 7 which ultimately stopped the drop.

Finally we come to last season. A top 10 finish was just about assured before Christmas. 3 wins in 9 at the start of the season was followed by 7 in 9 during autumn and early winter. 5 wins in the next 20, 3 of those in a 4 game spell, ended with a sigh of relief at a top 10 finish, Palace unable to join Stoke and Swansea above us.

The summary is that Pardew has had some decent placings in the lower leagues and indeed one at Newcastle. When he has, it is because those flurries have been longer or more frequent than the poor runs.

The conclusion is different. Pardew has had plenty of opportunities to learn why he has been unable to sustain a run, typically beyond 4 or 5 games. Many of the manufacturing businesses around the north East have adopted the philosophy of continuous improvement, the same philosophy that led England rugby under Sir Clive Woodward to a World Cup win, the same philosophy that Sir Dave Brailsford employed to put Team GB at the top of cycling medal tables at successive Olympic games and 2 Tour de France victories.

Pardew could be on the fringe of greatness on Tyneside if he has learned. What he has to do is break another cycle, that of his 15 year managerial record of, to borrow a phrase from Gordon Brown (itself gleaned from David Smith), Boom to Bust.

As the manager himself said,

“We have a strong squad, perhaps the biggest and best I’ve ever had in terms of options so we’re in a great position.”

Rex also runs his own website (toontoon.co.uk) which you can visit HERE

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